We all have needs. We need air, water and food to survive. Most of us have a need to feel safe, secure, loved and cared for. I believe we can all agree that these are healthy needs. Unfortunately, not all of our needs are healthy. Many are destructive and can significantly stifle our personal and professional growth? Let’s take a closer look at 5 unhealthy needs and what we can do to create a shift.
1. The Need To Be Right. This need causes people to become argumentative, confrontational, condescending and vindictive. This need is Ego driven. The need to be right can be very polarizing in our personal and professional relationships. A person needing to be right struggles to consider any point of view that differs from than their own. Growth occurs when we become open and accepting of NEW and DIFFERENT beliefs, opinions and perspectives. It’s not as important to be right as it is to be respectful in our communication with others.
2. The Need For Constant Approval. This person expects to be acknowledged for everything they do. This juvenile, insecurity driven need is emotionally draining to spouses, friends, family members and co-workers. If you don’t acknowledge and shower them with praise they often become angry and resentful. Growth occurs when we learn to be humble. Our ACTIONS will always speak much louder than our words. We must learn to accept unsolicited praise, say thank you and move on. Nobody likes being around a person who “gloats” or demands acknowledgement.
3. The Need To Be Noticed. A person driven by this need is heavily influenced by appearances and is always in search of a new audience. They tend to base their self worth on material possessions and will go to great lengths to “flaunt their stuff”. Characteristically, they are loud, boisterous communicators. They will do anything to grab the spotlight and they love to be seen as the “star of the show”. When they feel ignored, many will throw “adult temper tantrums” in a last ditch effort to satisfy their craving for attention. Growth occurs when we realize that substance is much sexier than stuff. People who crave notoriety tend to be seen as “show offs and braggarts”. People who exhibit humility and gratitude are generally seen as intelligent, trustworthy, responsible people.
4. The Need For Control. This need is fueled by insecurity and fear. Control is an avoidance strategy. At a subconscious level, the controller is simply avoiding their own self doubt and fear by focusing their energy on “fixing” and “manipulating” the people around them. Controllers are disappointed, frustrated and angry most of the time because rarely if ever do the people around them live up to their rigid expectations. “Control freaks” have a deep seated fear of being out of control and will do everything they can to control their environment. Growth occurs when we release our death grip on control, face our fears, embrace and accept failure, learn to delegate, appreciate that most people don’t desire to be “fixed” and commence on a dedicated journey toward self acceptance.
5. The Need To Be Needed. In my book Wisdom Through Failure, I refer to this need as “Helpful Harry Syndrome”. Helpful Harry routinely prioritizes the needs of others before his own. At first glance this seems to be a noble trait but in reality it is an avoidance strategy. Eventually, Helpful Harry becomes an angry giver as he comes to realize that many of his needs are not being met. The need to be needed does not encourage self sufficiency. In other words, “Helpful Harry’s” are teaching their children, spouses and employees to rely on others first. Growth occurs when we establish the habit of meeting our own needs before we focus on meeting the needs of others. With that being said, it is important to prioritize the needs of small children, those with disabilities and of course the elderly. We must encourage our adult children, spouses and employees to become problem solvers and doers. Admittedly, many may consider this a “self centered” approach, however, in the long term it will pay big dividends.
The beauty of personal growth is that ALL of us are a work in progress. It is VERY safe to say that none of us will ever achieve total mastery. We are human! Our goal is to recognize a familiar program when it begins to run and make an immediate shift toward our truth. With each shift we lay the foundation for our NEW REALITY. As a wise man once said…SHIFT HAPPENS!
How many times have we heard someone say, “Let’s put this in perspective”. When I hear this statement my initial reaction is almost always, “whose perspective, yours or mine?” Our perspective is usually based on the way WE see things, is drawn from a collection of life experiences, reference points and influences, all of which serve to support our current beliefs. Many of us have experienced misunderstandings we can later trace back to nothing more than a clash of perspectives. “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth”. Marcus Aurelius
Let’s take a closer look at three areas of our lives in which perspective plays a key role.
* Problem Solving And Adversity. How we approach problems and handle adversity is based on what I call our “conditioned perspective”. For example, some people hold onto the belief the world is “out to get them” while others view the world as a limitless “land of opportunity”. Again, it is worth noting that our perspective is brought about by our own unique life experiences and influences. Those who believe the universe is conspiring against them can always find “proof” to build their case. Others who believe the universe rewards people who work hard and are willing to sacrifice can also supply “proof” for their position. When we find ourselves struggling to find a solution to a problem or an adverse situation, it is always a good idea to step back and look at it from a different perspective. “Our way” may not be the most effective way to achieve a desired result. Many times simply looking at something from a different perspective will provide the clarity we need to create a breakthrough.
* Communication. How we communicate with others is generally based on our perspective. Two people can hear the same thing and have an entirely different reaction. For example, let’s say I grew up and was heavily influenced by a parent who was a perfectionist. Routinely, they let me know both verbally and non-verbally (by a distinct look or gesture) I didn’t do anything right. As an adult, whenever a person in authority offers me advice, I instinctively perceive it as criticism rather than positive feedback. Surprisingly, millions of people function with this type of skewed perspective and spend their lifetime struggling to get along, receive promotions or enjoy a healthy, peaceful relationship with friends and family. If on the other hand I grew up in a nurturing childhood environment where I was encouraged to do new things, accept failure as part of my growth and was not berated for doing things “wrong” then my perspective toward authority is going to be vastly different and I will be more likely to embrace feedback.
* Human Relations. Recently, I engaged in a “clash of perspectives” with a neighbor. My neighbor leaves his dogs alone while he is at work. I work from home and my office is approximately 50 ft from his living room window. Throughout the day, all summer long, I have listened to his dogs bark. I left him a note on his door, to which he responded “he never leaves his dogs alone”. Shortly thereafter, I called him at work to let him know his dogs were again barking out of control. He responded by telling me “he had checked with all of his other neighbors and I was the only person who had heard any barking coming from his home”. Eventually, I began making audio / video recordings highlighting the excessive dog barking and was able to garner support from other neighbors who were also subjected to the excessive dog barking. I submitted this information to our neighborhood HOA director. Even with conclusive proof, my neighbor still continued to claim I was simply “out to get him”. From my perspective my neighbor should not have dogs if he is unwilling to take responsibility for their care. From my neighbors perspective, I am attempting to make trouble for him and I should mind my own business. Wars are started, crimes committed, marriages end and friendships often severed because of a clash of perspectives. When conflicts arise it is a good idea for both parties to step back and take a look at things from the other person’s point of view. By engaging in this process, we may be able to better understand the other person’s perspective and ultimately find some common ground.
3 ways we can maintain a healthy perspective.
* Practice Objectivity. Look at issues and situations from the other person’s perspective. Seek to understand their point of view. This doesn’t mean we are going to change our mind, however it provides us with a better sense of where the other person may be coming from and how we can respond more effectively. When we find ourselves embroiled in a clash of perspectives it is always a good idea to step back and look at both sides of the issue with an objective set of eyes.
* Perspectives vs Expectations. Is it our true perspective or is it an expectation? For example, my parents believe a couple should be married before they live together. My perspective is more weight should be placed on how we treat our fellow man than on legalistic doctrine. Because of this “difference in perspectives” my parents may not visit our home for the holidays. Is this a “clash of perspectives” or is it a rigid expectation that is not being acknowledged? Looking at something from an objective point of view will often give us permission to release our death grip on expectation.
* Origin Of Perspective. Where did our current perspective originate? Past experiences, another person of influence, present reality or what we perceive to be societal expectations? All of these factors contribute to our current point of view. When we find ourselves engaging in a clash of perspectives it is wise to identify the origin and determine whether it is serving our greater good. Many of us are looking at things from a very “outdated” perspective and we simply need to upgrade our view.
This is my perspective on things. I would love to hear your perspective and as always I appreciate and respect your feedback.
In 2011 I turned fifty years old, a milestone that for much of my life seemed akin to climbing Mount Everest. I found myself celebrating this epic achievement by enjoying a slice of birthday cake and watching a movie called the Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. For those who have not seen it, the Bucket List is an adventure story that centers around two terminally ill patients (Freeman & Nicholson) who meet during an extended hospital stay. They embark on a journey to support each other in completing their “bucket list” of adventurous activities they had never “made” time to accomplish. The movie is funny and yet offers a very profound message…Don’t wait until you are near death to start living! Many of us carry around our own “bucket list” of dreams and desires but continue to place strenuous conditions around there achievement. “I’ll wait until I retire” or “I’ve got to pay my dues first” or “this isn’t how responsible people go about things” are common sentiments expressed by those who have resolved to wait until the “timing is right” to really begin living. Conditions and justifications tend to choke out dreams, I say, LIVE NOW!!!
Why do so many of us give up on our dreams? When did we make the unconscious decision to settle for the status quo and let our aspirations drift up into the clouds? Life is not a dress rehearsal, we only pass through once! How we choose to spend our time on Earth is entirely up to us. If you are the type of person who desires to live your life to the fullest, I would like to offer you some considerations for designing a “limitless life”.
*First, we must get very clear on what it is we DON’T WANT. Once we become clear on what it is we don’t want we can then re-direct our energy toward what it is we DO WANT. Far too many of us are willing to settle for scraps when we could be enjoying a banquet. Many of us find ourselves lamenting our “toxic” personal relationships as we begrudgingly make the daily commute in our sub standard vehicles to our dead end jobs, eating fast food and wondering how in the hell we arrived at this station in life? If this sounds eerily familiar, it’s time to take a serious look at your life plan!
*Clarity of purpose. Designing a limitless life begins with clarity of purpose. If we decided to start a new business, we would write a business plan, a plan that would detail every aspect of our operation. We would write a mission statement, we would set both short and long term goals, (with projected completion dates) and we would determine our start up costs and chart our financial projections. Designing a limitless life takes the same dedication, commitment and strategic planning. What do you desire to do for a living? Where to you desire to live? What type of vehicle do you choose to drive? What type of school environment do you desire to educate your children in? These are choices that each of us have control over. Remember…GOOD decisions=many options, BAD decisions=limited options.
*Get out of your head and into your heart! The biggest obstacle most of us encounter in life, lies between our ears. We have allowed a lifetime of counterproductive programming to govern our current reality. “My family has always been blue collar, I need to tow the line” or “I don’t want to insult my parents by creating a better life than they had” or “I never had the chance to go to college, so I’ll never be able to get a good job”, the list goes on and on. We must give ourselves permission to follow our heart! What are you passionate about? What gets you up early and keeps you up late? If you could live anywhere, where would it be? EVERYTHING is possible! It is your canvas, your paint and your talent, create your own unique mosaic. Start viewing yourself as the creative director of your life.
Once we have determined the things we are no longer willing to settle for, we can re-direct our energy toward what it is that we truly desire. Our clarity of purpose sends a clear message to the universe that we are ready to make a significant shift. The laws of attraction will begin coming into play as we apply the law of motion. In other words, as we are taking proactive steps toward our goals and dreams, the universe is reciprocating by aligning us with the right people, circumstances and events to help manifest our dreams and desires. We will never enjoy limitless living if are enslaved to consumption and the use of credit as a way of falsely portraying our success. Creating a limitless life is for your personal happiness and should never include the insatiable need to impress others.
Create to your heart’s content! As always I enjoy your thoughts and feedback.